I worked for the Kerry campaign in college and voted for President Obama…twice.

I have a picture of FDR in my office. My law partner has one of Ronald Reagan.

I have a Tennessee Vols flag on my wall. He has the red and black of the Dawg Nation.

While our politics and college football teams are very different, we agree on one thing; the right to bear arms.

I am a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment and the individual right of the people to own firearms.

At 37 years of age, I am preparing to purchase my first gun.

But, there was a time when I would not have considered owning a firearm.

Guns were never a part of my life. Growing up in Tennessee, my family didn’t have a gun in the house and we never went hunting. My father was a blue dog democrat but didn’t have a disdain for guns. As a teenager I had many friends who went hunting and had firearms but I focused more on organized sports, football and baseball.

College is where I believe my dislike of guns reared its head. I’m sure some, including my law partner, would say that such a notion was the result of liberal brain washing by my professors. But I’m honestly not sure why I had such a negative view of firearms.

My first interaction with a gun was when my father-in-law purchased a gun for my wife for Christmas almost 10 years ago. When we got engaged, and I moved away to Miami to attend law school, she remained behind in Knoxville to finish up her PhD.

Then, I was a staunch believer that all handguns should be banned and there was absolutely no reason for anyone to own one. While away in law school I began to come to appreciate the .38 revolver she had and the ability it gave her to protect herself.

As we grew older and started a family of our own, that appreciation only grew. Along with our alarm system, and motion lights, her gun provides me with the fundamental sense that I have the ability to protect myself and my family.

Now, I will be the first to admit, I don’t agree with everything the NRA posits and I believe there should be some controls on the type of guns people are allowed to own and the types of people who are allowed to own guns.

However, as I prepare to purchase my first gun, I do so not because we necessarily need another, or that there is anything wrong with the one we have, but I inherently understand that no one has to give me permission to own a gun, I have the natural and constitutional right to have one.

Next week, I plan to purchase the 6 shooter revolver. While I don’t believe that I will start hunting, I do know that I am looking forward to heading out to the shooting range to try some rifles.

I’m honestly not quite sure what became of the younger me. Perhaps it was age, ongoing maturity, or starting a family. However I can now say that I fundamentally believe that we, as American Citizens, have the right to bear arms.

I look forward to purchasing my first gun; a right that our Founding Fathers shed blood and gave their lives for my freedom to do so.

Dane Garland is a partner at Swindle Law Group, P.C. and a guest columnist.